Simulation Modeling and Metamodeling to Inform National and International HIV Policies for Children and Adolescents

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Abstract

Objective and Approach:

Computer-based simulation models serve an important purpose in informing HIV care for children and adolescents. We review current model-based approaches to informing pediatric and adolescent HIV estimates and guidelines.

Findings:

Clinical disease simulation models and epidemiologic models are used to inform global and regional estimates of numbers of children and adolescents living with HIV and in need of antiretroviral therapy, to develop normative guidelines addressing strategies for diagnosis and treatment of HIV in children, and to forecast future need for pediatric and adolescent antiretroviral therapy formulations and commodities. To improve current model-generated estimates and policy recommendations, better country-level and regional-level data are needed about children living with HIV, as are improved data about survival and treatment outcomes for children with perinatal HIV infection as they age into adolescence and adulthood. In addition, novel metamodeling and value of information methods are being developed to improve the transparency of model methods and results, as well as to allow users to more easily tailor model-based analyses to their own settings.

Conclusions:

Substantial progress has been made in using models to estimate the size of the pediatric and adolescent HIV epidemic, to inform the development of guidelines for children and adolescents affected by HIV, and to support targeted implementation of policy recommendations to maximize impact. Ongoing work will address key limitations and further improve these model-based projections.

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